Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will continue to lead GOP senators after winning a secret-ballot leadership election, setting him up to become the longest-serving Senate party leader in American history, CNN reports.
McConnell defeated Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), his first opponent in 15 years, squashing Scott's hopes of unseating the GOP Senate leader. McConnell won the leadership vote 37-10-1 and expressed pride at the election's outcome.
"I don't own this job. Anybody who wants to run for it can feel free to do so," McConnell said at a press conference. "I'm not in any way offended by having an opponent or having a few votes in opposition."
When asked whether finally having a challenger made him reconsider stepping down after next year, McConnell said, "Look, I'm not going anywhere."
Wednesday's leadership election comes after Scott and several conservative senators called for the vote to be delayed until after the upcoming Georgia runoff election. The delay request underscored mounting frustration among the GOP over the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections. The request failed, though sources say 16 Republican senators voted to delay the leadership elections in a closed-door meeting, per CNN.
Despite losing, Scott says he plans to continue to push the controversial "rescue America" agenda he released earlier this year.
"I will never stop fighting to finally take action to protect Social Security and Medicare and preserve the promise of these programs for our children and grandchildren," Scott said in a statement.